best vpn for iphone

In many countries, iPhones dominate the smartphone market. You shouldn’t be surprised by this as they’re user-friendly and have a robust array of features. On top of that, their maker (Apple) has made it a point to provide excellent customer support for them.

You need a VPN to remain protected when accessing the web using your iPhone. The problem is that many services claim to be the best choice for the device. As a result, the average consumer like yourself often has a hard time choosing.

(In case you're in a hurry, our top recommendation for the iPhone is ExpressVPN.)

What Is The Best VPN For iPhone In 2021?

A fierce battle is currently raging among VPNs to become the best for the iPhone. To outmatch each other, they upgrade their networks and implement new features. They also change their prices to be more attractive to those on a tight budget.

These are our top recommendations:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. Surfshark
  4. CyberGhost
  5. Private Internet Access

Let’s now take an in-depth look at each of them.

1. ExpressVPN

logo expressvpn

Credit: ExpressVPN.com

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs around. With it, you’ll be having top-notch digital security. ISPs, government monitors, cybercriminals, and other malicious third parties won’t get to compromise you.

ExpressVPN can fully protect you since it uses AES 256-bit encryption and supports all leading protocols, including its own called Lightway. It also has an audited no-logs policy. Sad to say, it does not have a malware blocker. Hence, you’ll have to install another piece of software if you wish to have one.

Almost no other VPN service matches ExpressVPN when it comes to speed. No matter which server you are connected to, expect to have a blazingly fast connection. In turn, gaming, downloading content, general browsing, and streaming will be incredibly smooth.

When connected to ExpressVPN’s servers, you’ll be able to bypass any geoblock or censorship measure. And yes, this applies to the Great Firewall of China. It works flawlessly there. It even does so with consistency, making surfing the web freely in the country possible.

ExpressVPN is compatible with a myriad of operating systems, browsers, and routers. With that said, it shines brightest when used with an iPhone. The service has a highly optimized app for the platform that’s user-friendly and light on memory. It’s also highly configurable, meaning changing the settings to suit your exact needs is a breeze.

Troubleshooting is easy with ExpressVPN. Its customer service can be contacted via email or chat. Each of the VPN’s representatives is knowledgeable, quick in delivering their responses, and cordial. Moreover, there’s a large online knowledgebase that you can take advantage of. Everything from in-depth guides to tutorial videos is available.

You can buy a 1-month ExpressVPN subscription for $12.95. Paying isn’t hard since it has a lot of payment options. Besides that, it has a decent 30-day money-back policy for those who are unsatisfied and want to get a refund.

2. NordVPN

logo nordvpn

Credit: NordVPN.com

NordVPN is an excellent VPN for iPhone. It boasts a wonderful app for that platform that anyone can use without hiccups. Furthermore, the service is extremely fast. Our tests have shown that it doesn’t affect connection speeds nearly as much as its major competitors. Thus, it’s arguably a no-brainer for people who need a rapid internet connection.

Before going further, you should know that NordVPN was once hacked. Although no personal user information got stolen, the service’s reputation took a severe hit. Due to that, it has since been trying very hard to regain its customer’s trust by upgrading security.

NordVPN is currently safer than ever. Since it got compromised, the VPN has implemented a bug bounty program and established its own protocol based on WireGuard. It has also announced that it’ll transition to using RAM-disk servers very soon.

Like all high-ranking services, NordVPN makes use of AES 256-bit encryption and supports all leading protocols. It has a trusted no-logging policy too. Moreover, it has very useful features like a malware blocker, automatic kill switch, and double VPN.

You can use NordVPN in China and other places where the internet is highly censored. For that reason, it’s an indispensable tool for people who don't have easy access to the mainstream internet. Still, it’s worth noting that the service occasionally does have downtime.

NordVPN works alongside a plethora of devices. It has native applications for every commonly used operating system, streaming device, and smart TV. Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox also exist. Lastly, the service can be installed on compatible routers, so it may be used with gaming consoles and other similar gadgets.

You can easily purchase a NordVPN subscription as it accepts many payment methods. The VPN has even partnered with several retail outlets so you can use cash. Consequently, there isn’t a reason why you can’t get your hands on it.

The prices of NordVPN are reasonable. While it isn’t the cheapest VPN solution, it is definitely within reach of average consumers. You’ll also be glad to know that a decent refund policy exists. If you have regrets, there’s a 30-day window to get your money back.

3. Surfshark

logo surfshark

Credit: Surfshark.com

Despite being relatively new, Surfshark has managed to gain a large market share. The reason why is because it offers excellent value. No other top-tier service is as secure, fast, and widely compatible. Also, few rivals allow for an unlimited amount of simultaneous device connections.

Surfshark has a network of over 1800 servers. All of which are RAM-based, and therefore, not capable of storing logs. Just as you might’ve expected, the VPN utilizes AES-256 encryption and supports leading protocols, including Shadowsocks. There’s also a no-logging policy, a malware blocker, and a kill switch.

Surfshark’s speed performance was excellent across all our tests. I had a good connection regardless of what server I was using. Even the most distant ones from my location didn’t cause my internet to become unusable. Because of that, I can safely say that Surfshark is a viable option for gamers and streamers.

You won’t have problems when torrenting with Surfshark. And yes, this remains true despite it not having a fully enabled P2P server network. Why? The service detects any downloading activity then automatically pairs you with a suitable server.

Surfshark’s app for iOS is a joy to use. It doesn’t take up much storage and runs without any hitches. Downloading then setting it up is more than easy too. Last but not least, it is visually pleasing to look at. Hence, a wonderful user experience is guaranteed.

Besides iOS, there are Surfshark apps for Amazon Fire TV Stick, Windows, Linux, Android, and macOS. In addition, the VPN is also compatible with select routers. You may also use it with gaming consoles like PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

The Great Firewall of China is no match for Surfshark. It works in the country with zero issues. They also say that it’s incredibly reliable and capable of providing them with access to any website or service.

You can get Surfshark for a mere $2.49 per month. However, you’ll need to shell out $12.95 to have a 1-month subscription. As such, I highly recommend that you make the investment and buy the longest plan you can afford. By that, you shall be getting the best deal.

4. CyberGhost

logo cyberghost

Credit: CyberGhostVPN.com

CyberGhost stands out as it has the largest network of any VPN. It has 7000+ servers scattered across the globe. Thanks to that, you’ll have no problem remaining completely anonymous each time you browse the web. Furthermore, you shall never run out of locations to connect to.

The security of CyberGhost is decent but not the best. While it has a strict no-logging policy and employs AES-256, the VPN does not support OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) or WireGuard on iOS. Therefore, you must contend with IPSec/IKEv2 and IPSec/LT2P.

On the bright side, CyberGhost has a lot of features you can use. Prime examples of which are a kill switch, split tunneling, and a secret photo vault. There’s also a password manager and something called Dedicated IP, which lets you create your personal IP address. Sad to say, neither of the last two is free to use.

CyberGhost isn’t the fastest VPN available. Nevertheless, the service is still competent in this regard. You’ll be able to stream all your favorite movies without problems with buffering and quality. Moreover, it’ll be possible to download torrents quickly and play games.

What’s great about CyberGhost is that its applications provide a list of servers that are suited for torrenting, security, and streaming. Because of that, you’ll no longer have to guess which place you need to connect to for these tasks. If anything, this makes using the service much more convenient and hassle-free.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to use CyberGhost in China. It can’t bypass the country’s harsh censorship measures despite the number of servers it operates. Due to that, you should pick something else if you need a tool for accessing the web in oppressed locations.

An awesome thing is that CyberGhost is one of the most affordable iPhone VPNs. For a subscription of 18-months, you’ll need to shell out just $2.76. Additionally, there is a superb refund policy in place. Depending on the plan, you have a window of 15 or 45 days to get your money back.

5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

logo pia vpn

Credit: PrivateInternetAccess.com

Private Internet Access or simply PIA is proof that budget VPNs can also be great. Although it’s significantly more affordable than all its major competitors, the service is fast and provides excellent security. It also has a splendid application for iOS that’s certain to impress.

Security is PIA’s main priority. As such, it adheres to robust encryption standards and maintains extensive protocol support. The service even gives you the option to use WireGuard, which is a prime indicator of how good it is. After all, the protocol has been universally dubbed by experts as the fast and most secure available.

The features that Private Internet Access has are very useful. Following your purchase, you’ll be getting a solid malware blocker, kill switch, and split tunneling. Apart from that, a firm no-logging policy is in place. Hence, you can rest assured that your data is in safe hands.

PIA certainly won’t disappoint when you’re browsing, gaming, or downloading content. Even if it isn’t the fastest choice out there, it’s still rather quick. When connected to a geographically close server, I often forgot that I was using a VPN.

Many people swear that PIA is the best service for torrenting. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise because the VPN is fast, and its entire network is P2P enabled. That means that every single server that it operates is suitable for torrenting.

What’s unfortunate is that Private Internet Access VPN isn’t reliable in China. It's almost useless there. Only one in three servers were able to work around the Great Firewall. Even worse, those that managed weren’t able to do so consistently.

PIA is available on all mainstream operating systems. It also has extensions for every leading browser, including Opera. On top of that, it can be used with game consoles if you install it on compatible routers. Finally, the service has apps for a few streaming devices and smart TVs.

A 1-month Private Internet Access subscription costs $9.95. For the best deal, I suggest that you opt for a 2-year plan which will run you just $2.69. As expected, there’s a refund policy in place. You can get your money back within 30 days after your purchase.

Why Use A VPN On An iPhone?

Why Use A VPN On An iPhone

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VPNs are indispensable tools that keep you safeguarded and maintain your anonymity. The right service can prevent hackers, ISPs, government watchers, and other third parties from tracking, gathering, then exploiting your data.

If you’re a movie buff, you can utilize your VPN to bypass Netlix’s geoblocks. When that’s done, an ocean of new content will become available. You’ll drastically increase the number of shows and movies you shall be able to watch.

Another thing your iPhone VPN can do is allow you to download exclusive content. By selecting the correct server, tapping into anything restricted shall be possible. Everything from movies to regionally locked games and updates is on the table.

Finally, a VPN on an iPhone may let you have a faster internet connection. Some VPNs get you off bandwidth throttling, which improves your connection. However, you should know that this is a rare occurrence. Thus, it’s best to manage your expectations.

How Does A VPN Work On iPhone?

How Does A VPN Work On iPhone

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Understanding what’s a VPN is easy. Sad to say, it’s quite harder to know how it works. Lots of technical processes happen behind the scenes that you aren’t made aware of.

Here’s everything that happens after you connect to a server:

  1. All your data gets encrypted before being sent to the server you chose.
  1. The server receives the data and then decrypts it.
  1. Everything that’s decrypted is forwarded by the server to the internet. It’s then bounced back and encrypted once more.
  1. Traffic gets relayed by the VPN server back to your iPhone and becomes decrypted.

The whole process of encryption makes it impossible for third-parties to intercept and obtain your private data. Because a secure connection is created, you’ll remain 100% anonymous. Your real IP address will be replaced with the one of the server you’re connected to.

How To Choose A VPN For iPhone

How To Choose A VPN For iPhone

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It’s essential to have a lengthy screening process when selecting a VPN for your iPhone. You must consider a few things to ensure that you’re getting the best.

  • Top-Notch Security

Not all VPNs are safe to use. Some leak your information or even collect it. Hence, you should make it a point to purchase a service that has a no-logging policy that’s audited. Also, it must utilize AES-256 encryption and have support for all the latest protocols.

The majority of top-tier services have security features that you’ll find handy. Great examples of which include a malware blocker, kill switch, alert system, and double VPN. Although your service doesn’t need to have all of these, it would be far better if it did.

  • Superb Speed

Every service hinders your connection to some extent. The degree at which it does determines whether it’s quick or not. Always pick out a VPN that’s known for having a minimal effect on internet speeds. Check out reviews to make sure you’re getting something fast.

VPNs with excellent speed capabilities are well-suited for gaming, torrenting, streaming, and everyday browsing. They provide an enjoyable experience that’s buttery smooth.

  • Great Unblocking Capabilities

The VPN you opt for must unblock websites and streaming services such as Netflix like a champ. It also has to work around the censorship measures put in place by certain governments.

With great unblocking capabilities, a service can give you absolute online freedom. You shall no longer have to deal with troublesome restrictions. Besides that, it’ll be possible to access a wide range of content. This includes everything from web pages to Hollywood titles.

  • Easy-To-Use Applications

It’s an absolute necessity that your VPN’s iOS application is user-friendly. Moreover, it must be aesthetically pleasing. After all, nobody would want to face an eyesore each time they open their VPN. Thankfully, most developers know this and strive to make their apps attractive.

Aside from what’s stated above, your service must also be highly configurable. If possible, you should be able to tweak every setting imaginable.

  • Reasonable Prices

Never settle on free VPNs because, more often than not, they’re not safe. Additionally, don’t go with the cheapest option available. Remember that you get what you pay for, which is why it’s always a good idea to make the investment.

Pick the service that offers the best value for money. Furthermore, be sure that it has a decent refund policy. Why? Because you’ll never know when you shall want or need a refund.

How To Setup A VPN On iPhone

How To Setup A VPN On iPhone

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Setting up a VPN on your iPhone isn’t difficult. Just head over to the App Store, then download your client. It should then automatically install on your device. After that, open the application, then log in. Finally, pick your server and tap the connect button.

To increase security, I highly recommend that you adjust your VPN’s settings. Go with AES-256 encryption along with the most optimal protocol. OpenVPN, WireGuard, or IPSec/LT2P are all wonderful options that perfectly blend speed and security. 

Don’t forget to utilize any exclusive features that your service might have. In addition, be sure to adjust the personalization options if there are any. Pick a theme that matches your personality or a font size that is easy to read. Doing this will go a long way.

How To Use A VPN On iPhone

How To Use A VPN On iPhone

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You just need to follow a few simple steps to use a VPN on your iPhone. First of all, confirm that you’ve already purchased your service, created an account, and downloaded it. It would also be nice if you configured the vanilla settings.

Once all that’s done, simply open the application then enter your login credentials. Pick out a server, then connect to it. You should then be all finished and ready to reap from the full set of benefits a VPN provides.

To make sure that your service is working properly, check your IP address. Lots of software to get this done are available online. We even have our own checker on this website. Hence, it’ll be easy to tell if you’ve successfully made yourself unidentifiable online.

Summary

I’d like to finish this article with a quick recap of the five VPNs I talked about earlier. Though all of them are excellent choices for iPhones, they’ve each got their downsides. You must be aware of them to avoid having regrets after spending money on them.

ExpressVPN is a VPN solution for both experienced users and beginners. It provides the best digital security that money can buy. The service also works in China and is adept at working around streaming platform geoblocks.

What’s unfortunate about ExpressVPN is that it lacks some features that many of its competitors have. Moreover, it’s a bit more expensive than all of its major competitors.

No other service on this list is as well-known as NordVPN. By choosing it, you’ll not have issues with connection speeds, as it’s the fastest VPN available. Besides that, it’s also incredibly secure despite it being hacked once before. One last thing to mention is it can provide you with access to just about any streaming library.

Sad to say, NordVPN occasionally experiences downtime. As such, the service occasionally fails to provide you with access to banned or censored content.

When it comes to value, nothing beats Surfshark. The VPN is one of the few that allows for an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections. It can also keep up with NordVPN when it comes to speed and ExpressVPN in regards to security.

The only downside of Surfshark is that it too suffers from occasional downtime. Don’t worry, though, as it can still be considered as reliable.

CyberGhost truly lives up to its name because it makes you undetectable. The service can do this because it has the most extensive network of any VPN. With that said, it also has a great iOS application that you’ll surely enjoy using.

A major bummer with the VPN is that it doesn’t offer support for all major protocols on iOS. As a result, you’ll be quite limited when it comes to optimizing it for maximum security.

PIA is the most affordable high-ranking VPN service on the market. With it, you won’t have to worry about ever being compromised. The reason why is because the service has excellent security and a robust set of features.

I don’t recommend PIA to anyone who’s looking to use it for entertainment purposes. Why? The service is not capable of bypassing geoblocks and providing access to restricted content.

VPNWhy Is It Good for iPhone?PricesLink
logo expressvpnTopnotch security,
Highly-optimized iOS app,
Fast speeds,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Easy-to-use apps,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$9.99/Month (6 Months)
$6.67/Month (15 Months)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo nordvpnGreat unlocking capabilities,
Decent apps,
Blazingly fast speeds,
Works in China,
Excellent iOS app
$11.99/Month
$6.99/Month (1-Year)
$4.99/Month (2-Year)
$3.49/Month (3-Year)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo surfsharkEasy-to-use iOS app,
Fast speeds,
Excellent security features,
Unlimited simultaneous connections,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$6.49/Month (6 Months)
$2.49/Month (2 Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo cyberghostUser-friendly apps,
Reasonable prices,
Decent security,
Lots of servers
$12.99/Month

14-Day Money-Back Guarantee

$7.99/Month (6-Months)
$2.76/Month (18-Months)

45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
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logo pia vpnGreat security,
Awesome prices,
Simple iOS app
$9.95 (1 Month)
$3.33/Month (1-Year)
$2.69/Month (2-Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price

About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.